As an entrepreneur, I’ve spent the past several years mastering how to juggle many jobs and tasks at once. If I’m being honest, this wrangling act of taking on a lot has always been my M.O. In high school and college, I was the one constantly raising my hand to lead all the fundraisers and projects, generally worked at least one part-time job if not two, then was hardcore about my homework and color coding all my notes. Somewhere in my adolescence I realized I like to keep my plate full, that some nerdy part of me actually thrived on the challenge of balancing it all and wearing a lot of hats. But, as many of you know, whether your stack of responsibilities is wide or deep it can all go haywire very quickly if you’re not careful: getting off task for an hour quickly turns into a whole afternoon, which avalanches into a couple days of unproductiveness. And that can really set you back, not to mention overwhelm you.
This need to carefully manage your time is the ultimate trick to productivity and reaching your goals, which I’ve had to perfect when working for myself. When you are your own boss, no one is mandating deadlines or giving you directions on how to do things, and if you don’t have a good system in place to set each day/week/month up for success, you can quickly get burnt out. And I know these challenges aren’t unique to the self-employed; this feeling of having too much to do, not enough time to get it done, and the struggle to keep up with it all can plague just about anyone in any industry.
So what’s the answer? I wanted to share what works for me in hopes that it might be a good guide for others. And what works for me is organization my friends. Freaking organization. And let me say it loud enough for those of your in the back: LISTS ARE YOUR FRIEND! (Maybe even my best friend.)
I love having this George & Willy Studio Roller hanging above my desk: it comes with a roll of butcher paper, which I’ve used to list all my broader overarching goals for the month. Listing these out in a prominent spot in the office and keeping them front-and-center over my work station every morning goes a long way in constantly reminding me of what exactly I’m working towards for the month. (I also stick important dates, special notes, motivating quotes and pretty photos that are inspiring me throughout the month up on there. It’s a motivational moodboard of sorts!)
I’m a massive advocate of putting pen to paper as a powerful tool to get things done…and little is more satisfying then putting a big ole check mark next to a task or goal once it’s done!
Setting aside 20 deliberate minutes at the beginning of every moth to list out specific goals not only gives me an intentional start to the month, but also gives me landmarks to look back on at the end of the month to see what goals I achieved, surpassed, or didn’t quite meet. Having them prominently displayed in my office keeps it all at the top of my mind and keeps me focused and motivated! I can then regroup at the end of the month and take note of what worked and didn’t work when I sit down as I set new goals for the next month.
I don’t stop at just monthly goals though. Two other powerful tools come into play on a day to day basis for me: my planner, and a grid lined notebook.
On my planner, I use a week-at-a-glance type layout where I write out all the appointments, meetings, and any scheduled out goals. The notebook I use to create a very detailed to-do list for each day. That’s right guys: an itemized and detailed checklist of every little thing I need to accomplish EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
That might sound excessive to you, but it WORKS. This detailed list is an intense breakdown of every little thing I need to get done, in both personal and business life, and keeps me checking back in on the list several times throughout the day to mark off what I’ve accomplished and look at what I have left.
For those of you who are super type-A like me, this is basically my own personal modification of The Bullet Journal method (please tell me in the comments if you get sick pleasure out of watching that video like I do, haha. #typeanerdsunite!)
All of those lists ultimately work together, and this large mounted roller on the wall with overall month goals has been so so good to have: it showcases the tangible landmarks I want to hit but also serves as a sort of mantra for the month, a visual inspiration board of exactly what I want to achieve in 30 days. While I’m detailing out to-dos much more specifically in my planner and notebook, this large-scale at-a-glance look at my goals steers me back in the direction of contextualizing all my small tasks into the bigger picture. I deliberately limit the goals to four or five succinct bullet points in large handwriting to keep what’s written digest-able and inspiring, rather than overwhelming or anxiety inducing. And I love that I can tack on pretty and meaningful tidbits throughout the month, from printouts of my favorite pins on Pinterest, to any special things I get in the mail, or fabric swatches from any projects I’m working on. And just when it starts to get stale and no longer motivates me, I just pull the roll down, tear off the sheet, and start over!
Now let’s circle back to the exciting part for all of you: George & Willy is generously offering up one of these exact same Studio Rollers to one lucky giveaway winner! You can choose from the white or black wall mount, and they will ship to anyone worldwide — which means this giveaway is open to everyone! There are several ways to enter and you have one full week to enter as many times as you want up via the methods listed below until midnight EST Monday, September 24th. I will draw a name at random and announce the winner here and on Instagram next Tuesday, September 25th.
Alright, so enter away! Let me know how you stay on task and if you feel like this lovely craft paper roller would help you do so. Or if list making isn’t your thing, tell me how else you’d use this studio roller in your home 🙂 Can’t wait to hear your thoughts and ideas!
(GIVEAWAY CLOSED: WINNER IS @MILESYEUNG)
A little bit about George & Willy: they are a three-person team based out of New Zealand who design and hand-craft every one of their pieces. They focus on creating problem-solving products that serve both form and function, so not only are their pieces thoughtful, beautiful, and minimal, but they are ethically made with love. I was gifted their Studio Roller but all thoughts and opinions are my own. I only partner with makers and brands I truly love, support, and genuinely want to share with you all! And psst: if you can’t wait to see if you’ve won the giveaway, signing up for their newsletter gets you $10 off your first order!